Te Urewera

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Lake Waikaremoana in Te Urewera

Te Urewera is an area of the central North Island of New Zealand. Rough, sparsely populated hill country to the northeast of Lake Taupo, it is the historical home of Tūhoe, a Māori iwi (tribe) known for their stance on Māori sovereignty. Ownership of Te Urewera is contested, with Tūhoe claiming historical ownership.

The region's name has an unusual origin. Te Urewera is a Māori name meaning "The Burnt Penis", from the tale of a Māori chief who died after rolling over in his sleep while lying too close to a camp fire.[1]

The middle of Te Urewera is located close to Lake Waikaremoana, and much of the land is contained within Te Urewera National Park. Other than the park, the main industry in the district is forestry, centered on the settlement of Murupara. The area is isolated, with State Highway 38 being the only major arterial road crossing it, running from Waiotapu near Rotorua via Murupara to Wairoa.

Because of its isolation and dense forest, Te Urewera remained largely untouched by British colonists until the early 20th century; in the 1880s it was still in effect under Māori control. Like the King Country at the time, few Pākehā were prepared to risk entering Te Urewera.[2]

All North Island native forest bird species, except for the weka, live in the area.[3] Crown fern (Blechnum discolor) is a widespread understory plant.[4]


  1. ^ David Withers, with Paul Campbell (2007). Tales from the Ruakituri Valley. ISBN 9780473120955. 
  2. ^ Michael King (2003). The Penguin History of New Zealand. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-301867-1. 
  3. ^ "Te Urewera National Park". Department of Conservation. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Hogan, C. Michael. "Crown Fern Blechnum discolor". iGoTerra. Retrieved 13 October 2014.